Considerations for Choosing Your Ideal Stakeholder Relationship Management Software
With expectations around stakeholder engagement rising, it's increasingly important to have a strategic stakeholder engagement plan in place. But even with a stakeholder strategy, things can become complicated once you start juggling different stakeholder roles, engagements and any commitments or issues.
The easiest way to simplify your stakeholder engagement efforts is with a quality software solution, but what are your options?
You've probably heard of people trying to use customer relationship management (CRM) software, and other people using stakeholder relationship management (SRM) software . What's the difference, and what should you choose?
SRM and CRM are Different
SRM and CRM have different purposes.
While both systems offer a space to store data like contact information, overall, the two systems are very different in terms of workflows, language and embedded features.
- SRM is ideal for managing stakeholder relationships and your history of engagement with these stakeholders
- CRM is ideal for managing customers and sales
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
CRMs are designed around the sales process to help an organization push its customers through the sales funnel.
For managing your stakeholder engagement and consultation, it doesn't make sense to use customer-focused software like a CRM; you're not selling to your stakeholders, you’re engaging with them.
Making a CRM do the Work of an SRM
If you, your IT Manager or another member of your team is thinking of trying to make a CRM do the job of an SRM, consider the following before deciding:
CRMs aren't stakeholder focused
- Being customer-focused, CRMs don't have stakeholder workflows, which makes it significantly more challenging to use them to manage your stakeholder relationships.
CRM hidden costs
- Being customer-focused, CRMs typically require substantial customizations to meet stakeholder engagement needs. However, when you customize a CRM, the approach is usually to “set-it-and-forget-it” which means there’s no future stakeholder engagement support or maintenance. Any stakeholder engagement specific updates or customizations will cost more money at the expense of the organization, not the vendor. These hidden costs associated with the necessary customizations come with no guarantee the configured software will meet you and your team’s stakeholder engagement goals.
When a CRM doesn’t match your needs, you’ll see low adoption rates
- Getting your team on-board with new software is often difficult, but introducing a software not made to meet your team’s needs makes it even more challenging. Using a CRM to do something it isn’t built for will overly complicate your process, which will result in low adoption rates by your team, leaving the potential for collaboration difficult, if not impossible.
A CRM increases the likelihood of project risks
- Forcing a CRM to fit your stakeholder engagement needs leaves your projects and programs open to threats. These threats can arise from the inevitable gaps in the CRM, where it can't fully meet your stakeholder engagement management needs.
Consider what could happen if your project gets audited? An SRM will help you quickly pull the data you need, in the proper format, whereas a CRM can get complicated and messy very quickly, leaving you open to repercussions (e.g. from issue and commitment management gaps).
CRM implementation wastes valuable resource time
- The substantial customizations that a CRM will need means you won't be up-and-running very quickly. It will require extra time to develop the necessary add-on modules and to create the workflows you and your team will follow, which wastes valuable resource time.
Stakeholder Relationship Software (SRM)
Managing engagement with all your unique stakeholders is vital because stakeholder relationships can be varied, numerous and, at times, overwhelming. Having the right software to help you stay organized is crucial to your organization’s success.
Stakeholder Relationship Management (SRM) Benefits
SRMs help you to understand your stakeholders and your projects
- An SRM helps you to understand your stakeholders, your relationships with those stakeholders and their related projects with one look. This understanding comes from the SRM dashboards, which are stakeholder and engagement project-focused (not focused on sales and leads).
SRMs can increase project collaboration
- With workflows designed for managing your stakeholders, your team is more likely to use the software, which results in higher long-term adoption rates and better collaboration across projects.
Running reports is simple with an SRM
- With an SRM, your stakeholder information is well-organized and easy to find, which allows you and your team to report on your data quickly. Easy reporting enables you to show engagement and consultation efforts and properly share your information for better transparency and a clearer understanding of your project’s progress.
Build relationships with a SRM
- As the name suggests, SRMs are adopted by organizations looking to build long-term relationships with their stakeholders. With an SRM, you can organize and manage all your stakeholder information and stakeholder engagements, which helps you to engage deeper, leading to better stakeholder relationships.
SRMs can be ready to use quickly
- With workflows designed for managing stakeholders, a cloud-based SRM can be implemented very quickly as compared to CRM platforms that require customizations. With shorter implementation times and no hidden costs, SRMs will save you not just time, but also money.
SRM workflows help gain stakeholder insights
- Beyond helping with a quick implementation process, SRM workflows also help you to gain richer insights and allow you to report on your engagements with stakeholders, including any communications, issues, commitments and tasks. These insights and reporting capabilities are essential to the effective management of your stakeholder information and help you to learn about your stakeholders and their opinions and concerns.
This stakeholder insight capability is a key benefit to choosing SRM software over the customer-focused CRM software.
Choosing the Right SRM
There is no surer way to destroy stakeholder trust than by failing to deal with any issues or commitments effectively.
The SRM "out-of-box" capability means the software has designated spaces for you to store, track and analyze all your unique stakeholder information.
When you're juggling your various stakeholders and any stakeholder issues and commitments, you'll find having a defined space for this information helps you to organize and manage everything promptly, which is vital as issues and commitments are often time-sensitive.
With these capabilities, you're not wasting time rushing to make the software meet your needs. An SRM comes ready to use and ready to meet your needs, allowing you to keep your resources focused on the other crucial areas of your project.
However, not all SRMs are created equal, so take the time to look for SRM software that helps you quickly and easily record, track and report on information like:
- Stakeholder Profiles
- Stakeholder Communications
- Stakeholder Issues
- Stakeholder Commitments
Say Hello to Jambo™
Jambo is the fastest and easiest way for organizations to manage their stakeholder engagement and consultation programs.
Not only fast and easy, but Jambo is also flexible to meet your unique requirements to keep you on top of engagement expectations.
Find out if Jambo is the right fit for your organization and learn about its unique features by signing up for a no-pressure Jambo demo.